As one of Maria Shriver’s contributing writers, I wrote the following piece a few months ago. I’m sharing it again today in honor of the millions of people living in our country with intellectual disabilities that desire and deserve a chance to be a part of our nation’s labor force. This Labor Day, please join our family in changing the statistics.
For my husband, walking away from Wall Street was the easiest decision he ever made – but not for the reasons you might think. With over a decade of experience as a financial advisor, a solid book of business and a plethora of professional designations, Ben had nothing but blue skies ahead of him, but it was his personal life that was about to redefine his career. As the proud father of four children – two with Down syndrome – Ben was acutely aware of the challenges people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) face in this world – most specifically their difficulty finding employment. And so, in the spring of 2013, Ben decided it was time to make his professional life as authentic as his personal life. He resigned as vice president at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management and opened Dye Creek Capital, a full service investment practice with a focus on employing people living with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Today, Dye Creek Capital proudly employs nine individuals with IDD as client hospitality associates, but this is just the beginning of Ben’s vision to make an impact on the way businesses do business. With over 70% of people living with IDD unemployed in our country, Ben hopes that Dye Creek Capital’s business model will inspire other businesses to follow suit and help change these statistics.
For Ben, making the decision to blaze this new path was completely organic. For others, it might mean taking a step outside their comfort zone.
Here are five reasons every business should hire someone with an intellectual or developmental disability.
Despite widespread misperceptions, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are capable of learning new skills and completing tasks. People with IDD also have formidable skill sets that can contribute greatly to the success of a business. If needed, there are many resources available including supported employment services that assist employees with on-the job training and workplace modifications at no cost to the employer.
PEOPLE WITH IDD ARE HARD WORKING
On-time, dedicated, productive and loyal are just a few of the adjectives employers use to describe their employees with IDD. Employees with IDD oftentimes model characteristics that employers desire for their entire workforce.
A recent study conducted by the University of Massachusetts determined that 62 percent of adults with IDD who were employed have been in their job for more than three years. This low turnover and high employee retention rate make people with IDD ideal job candidates.
PEOPLE WITH IDD ARE GOOD FOR BUSINESS
Hiring people with IDD is a visible way to demonstrate a business’ commitment to diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Workplace diversity also creates a positive culture for employees and customers. With nearly 5 million people living with an intellectual disability in our country, chances are your next customer knows someone with an IDD and will appreciate your hiring practices.
All people are created equal in rights, dignity and the potential to achieve great things. Yet, people with IDD continue to be marginalized and discriminated against. Once given the opportunity through employment, people with IDD can learn new skills and be successful in a variety of work environments. Employers should focus on an individual’s abilities instead of their disabilities.
To learn more about Dye Creek Capital and its business model to employ people with intellectual and developmental disabilities visit www.DyeCreekCapital.com